Look beyond the distractions

27 November 2007

In this deeply restless culture, the Church needs not just to refresh the observance of Sunday but to shape a new spirituality of the Lord’s Day, Archbishop Mark Coleridge says in his pastoral letter to mark the beginning of Advent.

"A new spirituality of the Lord’s Day will have to be consciously counter-cultural," he says. "It will involve saying 'no' to some things in order to say 'yes' to something greater and deeper.  It will require a certain discipline in order to find rest for our souls.  It will also require a new kind of creativity and imagination."

A new way of living the Lord’s Day, based upon a new spirituality of Sunday, would mean saying "yes" to Sunday Mass, he said.

"Without the Eucharist, Sunday cannot be the Lord’s Day.  It may also mean saying 'yes' to other forms of prayer – family prayer of some kind (perhaps associated with a meal), the Morning or Evening Prayer of the Church or even the Rosary prayed in an especially festive way. 

"The meal table has always been important for Christians because of its Eucharistic overtones, so a special Sunday meal could bring joy to the Lord’s Day.  Sunday is also a time to gather with family and friends, even to go with them on an outing to some place where the beauty of nature can soothe the soul or on a pilgrimage to some holy place where the heart can open to God. 

"The Lord’s Day is also a good time to invite the lonely and the poor to the table to share the joy of the sabbath.  It may even be a good time for some restful silence – not the cold, empty silence of absence and alienation but the warm, joyous silence filled with the loving presence of God and others.   These are the sort of things which cost little but which can bring rest to the soul.

"Yet for that to happen, there will need to be a special discipline of the Lord’s Day, a kind of holy restraint. 

"This may mean looking beyond potential distractions like shopping and work, or events which can interfere with the celebration of the Lord’s Day, or even television, computers, radio and newspapers which can fill us with a burble which makes soul-rest all but impossible. 

" A discipline such as this will bring not emptiness and boredom, but a time and space in which we can calm and focus our souls and therefore find rest."

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